Xavier Rhodes has slowed down Julio Jones in last two meetings

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones can’t hold on to a Matt Ryan pass as he is leveled by Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes during the first half in a football game on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Nobody shuts down Falcons two-time All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones.

You can slow him down.

And when you leave him in one-on-one coverage, Jones can excel like he did last week against Tampa Bay. Jones had 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first NFL receiver to have three 250-yard or more games in league history.

But Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes had held up against Jones in man-to-man coverage. The two will tangle when the Falcons (7-4) host the Vikings (9-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In the last two meetings with the Falcons, Rhodes has come the closest to shutting Jones down.

While in coverage against Jones on four targets, Rhodes held him to two catches for 27 yards in the 41-28 loss on Sept. 28, 2014. Jones finished with eight catches for 82 yards overall.

In 2015, the Vikings elected to have Rhodes shadow Jones in the Georgia Dome for portions of the game. Jones was targeted seven times and caught five passes for 56 yards in the 20-10 loss on Nov. 29. He didn’t catch a pass until the second quarter. Adrian Peterson rushed 29 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings.

Jones had just two catches for 18 yards with Rhodes in coverage.

“Julio is Julio,” Rhodes told Minnesota reporters on Monday. “Big, fast, physical, can get the ball once it’s in the air. I don’t think he has a weakness. He’s focused, doesn’t talk much on the field, so it’s hard to get in his head. It’s Julio.”

Rhodes, who played at Florida State and was a first-round pick (25th overall) in 2013, since the meeting with Jones in 2015, he has regularly shadowed the opposition’s top receiver. He earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season and is having another stellar season.

Reader Comments 0

12 comments
Joe Lund
Joe Lund

Double Julio, great... that's when Sanu, Gabriel, Hardy, Hooper, Tevon and Free step up

Barry Ringold
Barry Ringold

Yall bout to get Julio mad!! Dont do it!! I dare you!!

Juan Acosta
Juan Acosta

Well when u get away with holding all the time u can stop anybody

Cj Twine
Cj Twine

Not true he didn't get alot of targets the last 2 meetings, cause Vikings control the line of scrimmage, didnt give Matt Ryan time.

Bo Swanson
Bo Swanson

Things people write about, JJ can never be slowed down by any ( 1 ) person, No body can cover him 1 on 1, nobody & this game is a good test, falcons are too fast on both sides for the viks, saints will be handled as well

Eric Riley
Eric Riley

He’s a physical corner. Should be a good matchup

Damon Jackson
Damon Jackson

Penalties penalties penalties... will tell the truth about this game and our team this time...

Patrick Duffy
Patrick Duffy

Get the run going and we open up the play action and win

Kevin Spires
Kevin Spires

That was then. This is now. He couldn’t even stop Marvin Jones last week. You think he’s gonna stop Julio Jones this week? Nah, man.

Steve Capozello
Steve Capozello

It’s not gonna matter this game will be won and lost in the trenches These next two games will tell you everything you want to know about the Falcons Are we tough enough to play old-school football ?we’re gonna find out